Ok. I'm not exactly Job. I get it. That guy had some serious stuff go down. Lost his wife, his kids, his cattle, his house. Got a bad case of boils, which his insurer somehow determined were a pre-existing condition (I know, crazy, right?)
But it does feel sometimes like somebody with some clout is really messing with me. I've got some pretty decent coping skills, I think. But when you try your five or six back-up plans and they all fail, you've got to wonder...
(Satan, aka Lou Seefer, is having a meeting with one of his minions)
Lou: So, Dee, whataya got on this Hammer guy?
Dee: He's a musician. I think I figured out a way to get him to stop doin his thing.
Lou: Oh yeah, what's that?
Dee: There's this mega-virus goin around, right? We'll get his bosses to close the church. Can't play the organ anymore.
Lou: That whole pandemic thing is just to mess with him?
Dee: Oh no. I talked to a bunch a demons in another department and we got it all coordinated. With resepect to the very excellent job you did with Job, we don't make disasters that affect just one person anymore. We're all about efficiency. This is gonna make life miserable for a whole lotta people. This is just one of the side effects.
Lou: Nice. So he can't play the organ at his church. Has he got one at home?
Dee: No, but he does have a piano.
Lou: Well, look, you're gonna hafta do better'n that.
Dee: Hey, what do I look like? We arranged so his wife has to stay home with him.
Lou: Isn't she in health care?
Dee: Yeah, but they got this screwy scheduling thing where the residents are spending one week at home. An entire week. And..
Dee, And, she has back issues. Gonna spend her time on the couch which is three feet from the piano.
Lou: You know the floor plan?
Dee: I put in the orders for the house four years ago. There is no way you can get a grand piano anywhere but next to the couch.
Lou: You planned ahead!
Dee: Damned straight, we did!
Lou: And she don't like to hear no piano.
Dee: No, she ain't got no problem with it, it's that he can't concentrate. Sudden outbursts from her when somebody did something stupid on Facebook or the computer won't cooperate. Doesn't go well with creative work. Deep concentration, that sort of thing. At the old house he used to have the piano in a bedroom where you could close the door, but you can't do that here.
Lou: I see. Well, hasn't he got a hobby?
Dee: Running, but we made sure the weather sucks. See, that makes him despondent, AND he has to bundle up like a bag of marshmallows. He doesn't like to do that, see he tries not to run when it's cold.
Lou: Which is how cold exactly?
Dee: Well he went once when it was nine degrees. But that ain't the point. See, with him the idea is to grind him down with a long winter where the overnight low is the same in April as it was in January. He can take it for a while, then he starts looking for ways to beat the system. He'll try to go in the afternoon when its warmer. So we get the weather bureau to predict nice balmy temperatures which never materialize. Or make sure it rains any time the temperature goes above 40.
Lou: And weeks of grey skies.
Dee: Hey, that's easy. It's Pittsburgh.
Lou: So you're keeping him indoors mostly.
Dee: hashtag stay at home! And don't go creating endorphins by excercising!
Lou: Anything else?
Dee: Well, he's a writer. Blogs, mostly. But we're trying to make sure nobody reads 'em. That way they whole thing will feel futile. At the moment we got this kid who used to eat worms on the playground that our deparment got the folks down there to elect president and he's sucking up all the oxygen saying things so dumb nobody can talk about anything else. Really paralyzes the mind, it does. Great stuff.
Lou: Well, you've certainly covered your bases. I'm impressed, Ms. Mon. You've really thought this through. Very thorough, if the set-ups are sometimes a little complicated, and the payoffs take a while to devvelop. The only thing I would suggest is that sometimes you aren't really very efficient. In soul-torture, it is important to take the shortest route possible to get the maximum effect. And of course not to let the subject know what you are doing.
Dee: But Lou, if he realizes the complexity of our efforts, that everything he tries is just being countered with more and more effective measures, won't he start to feel the futility of it all, AND develop a nice persecution complex? And then it's just a short route to WHY ME which is a great way to develop a wounded ego narrative and start thinking this whole worldwide disaster is all about him.
Lou: Well, don't let him see all your cards.
Dee: But that's exactly what I intend to do. Let him realize how self-centered he's being.
Lou: But that will make him start to realize how silly it all is, and make him healthier and more empathetic?
Dee: No, that will make him feel guilty for feeling that way in the first place.
Lou: All I can say is you better know this guy.
Dee: Hey, I know people.
Lou: And I know that the biggest way for a promising young demon to tank in the career trajectory is to get over-confident.
Dee: You really think so?
Lou: Psyche! I'm just messing with you.
Dee: Wow. You had me worried.
Lou: That's the great thing about getting inside people's minds. It's a never ending game.
Dee: It sure is.
Lou: Well, back to work. And Dee...don't screw this up.